Almost Half of UK Citizens Cannot Afford to Retire - New Research

By Marketing VF Ltd Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012

Market research company SurveyCompare has released a new infographic showing nearly half of UK citizens asked do not expect to retire when they reach retirement age.

 The infographic cross-sections its data to show how men and women have different expectations, how different kinds of employment produce different retirement plans, and how plans change with age.

Agnese Geka of SurveyCompare says, "We did this research because we could not find anything like it out there. We wanted to make clear to people that across the UK men and women are feeling the pinch financially regardless of their background, and are uncertain about their working future and maybe they should start thinking about additional income sources sooner."

The infographic shows the UK government's plans to raise the retirement age from 65-68 for men and from 60-65 for women, even though in the UK the 'health' expectancies for men and women are 63 and 65 respectively. Men degrade more rapidly than women but will be expected to work for longer under these plans. Protest groups have been set up to lobby the government on this, such as

Responses to SurveyCompare's question 'Will you continue working past the age of retirement?' demonstrated the rise in recent years of people working from home, and those becoming self-employed.

The research shows 20% of men and around 16% of women expect to either work part-time or turn self-employed when they reach retirement age. More men than women expect to be able to retire - 24% vs 19% - and seeing as 42% of those not retiring are compelled to continue working by financial insecurity the difference of 5% is possibly a question of unequal pay.

The future certainly looks less certain for women, with 41.6% unsure about their prospects compared to 32.4% of men. Only 11.6% are confident of staying on with their employer as an older worker compared to 16% of men. It's a cold world out there.

Although it's no surprise around 50% of under 25s don't know much about their retirement plans that uncertainty remains at around 40% until you come to the 55+ age bracket. Geka says, "We all know Parkinson's Law, which says work takes as long to do as you have to do it. Our research has shown this is the same with retirement plans. For whatever reason, whether it's because they can't afford to or because they aren't inclined to, people don't think ahead to retirement."

A constant of around 10% throughout all the age groups expect to continue working for the same employer when they reach retirement age. The same is true of those planning to take on part-time work, suggesting work ethic does not change dramatically as people get older. Those working two or more jobs can't imagine retiring ever, and those in long term unemployment find it harder to imagine themselves working as a senior citizen than being retired.

Retirement plans come down to either habit or necessity. Those with pHds don't imagine themselves retiring, in fact 56% will continue writing academic papers well into their senior years, usually as a lifestyle choice.

On the surface those in work are the people most able to afford retirement, but even then it doesn't look like they are earning enough currently to consider retiring. Government figures shows in 2012 employment is up but the number of hours being worked is down, meaning the increase of part-time workers and working from home increases.

According to the SurveyComare research, 37% of those polled work full-time and 21% part-time. But of each group only 10% would definitely retire and around 35% didn't yet know, again with financial reasons being cited. The research suggests perceived wealth is relative: everyone feels they could do with supplementing their income.

So why don't people expect to retire? That is the question SurveyCompare is asking. The stand-out reason is financial, and this is driving more into working from home to maximise and monetise their time. But there are a combined 20% who either don't like the idea of stagnating or who wish to continue using their personal experience and skills. These make up part of SurveyCompare's demographic, people looking to earn some money at their convenience while engaging with something relevant to their interests. offers people the chance to earn money with paid surveys on their chosen subject. The SurveyCompare service is free and is using by tens of thousands of people around the world. As survey panellists these people play a key role in market research and their opinions influences companies to develop new products and services.

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